Capturing news through eyes of media

Media classes make an impact on students’ lives

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Jessica Majors/FHS Press

Still in shock, junior Megan Evans is congratulated by PSPA Contest Chair Paul Fantaski after winning the Editorial Cartoon contest at States on March 30.

Jessica Majors, Photo Editor

Three tasks that come very naturally to students that take part in media classes at Freedom: recording a video, writing an article and capturing an image. Advised by Mr. Aaron Fitzpatrick, Print Media Workshop and Broadcast Media Workshop classes offer students the chance to get courtside action in sporting events, get award recognition and, most importantly, grow from a group of students in a classroom to a family. 

Print Media Workshop, most commonly known as “Print,” offers students the opportunity to publish work in both the FHS Press newspaper and Shawnee Yearbook throughout the school year. In the class, students not only learn the basics of each publication, but over the years, they grow creativity through working with programs that include Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Herff Jones eDesign. These programs have not only helped these students in the classroom, but along with other work outside of the class and for projects outside of school.

“Having the background knowledge of these applications from being involved with Print, I was able to put them to use in my other classes to grow my creativity and it also was a huge indicator on my resume as I was able to add these and jobs are ecstatic when individuals can use these programs,” junior and FHS Press Managing Editor Leannah Messenger said.

Broadcast Media Workshop offers students the opportunity to publish everyday videos on their YouTube channel “Bulldog Beat.” During these videos, students give a daily announcement of club meetings, school activities and reminders, a recap of sports scores and games and fun interactive videos they publish on their own time. Along with Print, Broadcast uses many different programs to publish their work every school day. These programs include Wirecast Pro, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop and a class favorite, Canva. 

“Broadcast Media has impacted me in many ways. I grew a lot of skills through using different programs which allowed me to grow a love for making funny videos with my friends and for the community to enjoy,” senior and Bulldog Beat Entertainment Editor Grace White said.

These students do not only work in school to work on their publications, but rather use the skills they have learned to get recognized at the local, state and national levels. 

Making it past the local competition, 10 students representing the FHS Press, Shawnee Yearbook and the Bulldog Beat qualified for the state level competition after placing in the regional Pennsylvania School Press Association (PSPA) competition back in the fall. The state competition was held at the Penn State Main campus in March. The students in the competition made the trip out to the campus at the end of the school day, the day before the competition. They spent the night at the Graduate State College hotel and were ready to compete the next day for the awards. Juniors Megan Evans, Kaylee Ostrowski and Madison Sanders, along with seniors Carter Huggins and Braeden Giebel all took first in their respective categories at the competition.

“I was super surprised when I won first place for the yearbook spread design. The award gave me more confidence in what I do,” junior and Shawnee Yearbook Co-Editor-in-Chief Kaylee Ostrowski said.

While being recognized for their work at the state level, local recognition is something many students are also excited about. A local recognition that many student journalists receive is an induction into Quill and Scroll, which is an International Honor Society for student journalists. To be eligible for Quill and Scroll, students must have been in either Print or Broadcast Media Workshop for two years, have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher and rank in the top 25 of their graduating class. Additionally, students have to pass an evaluation by a board of anonymous staff members. Seniors in Print or Broadcast Media Workshop, for the first time, are able to be a part of Quill and Scroll, too, as long as they meet all the other requirements.

This year, eight students were inducted into the 2021-2022 Quill and Scroll chapter, along with four senior returners, Giebel, Huggins, Sarah Levenson and Jessica Majors.

“Through Print Media, I learned the ways and duties of a journalist. These principles are a large part of Quill and Scroll, so I’m glad I got to be an inductee,” junior and Shawnee Managing Editor Luke Snavely said. 

Getting their work reviewed and seen by an audience outside of Freedom is an honor, but many other impacts are made by students while in these classes. Between both Broadcast and Print, students get the opportunity to have access to equipment that others students do not have access to in a regular classroom. They have access to camera equipment for photos, tripods for recording, microphones and a range of MacBooks that have access to an array of programs and tools for their publications.

“I think that the most important part of taking pictures of events or sports is being able to help others look back on memories. When you receive your yearbook, you always want to find the pictures that you are a part of, and I think it is so cool to be the person that is behind capturing these moments,” sophomore and Shawnee Yearbook Index Editor Skylar Scobbo said.

All in all, students have access to equipment like no other students have at Freedom, and they have the opportunity to not only grow closer with the community, but the staff grows closer as a whole to become much more than a family year after year.

“Having the chance to be involved with both PMW and BMW has given me the chance to meet and work with new people that I wouldn’t talk to outside of these classes. Sharing the love of the classes with everyone really brings us all together and we’re all there to help each other when needed. It feels like I always have a support system behind my back,” junior and Bulldog Beat Managing Editor Madison Sanders said. 

Media classes at Freedom show much more than the work they publish every day, month and every year or the work that is being recognized. The impact the classes have on these students is a huge contribution to their high school lives and it’s these courses that best suit these students for their future beyond high school.